Over the last few weeks and particularly after the Swansea victory, I have been looking at Diego Costa and imagining how things would really have played out this season if we didn’t have a striker of that caliber in the ranks to help our assault on four fronts this season. Costa has already scored 17 league goals and it’s only January. This is a significant improvement on returns from our striking department compared to the previous few campaigns.
This then raised a question in my mind; where would Diego rank amongst the strikers we have had leading the team over the last few seasons. I will start my analysis from the strikers who were still in the team as at the 2010/2011 season.
Signed as a last ditch option when Jose Mourinho failed in his bid to secure the signature of Wayne Rooney, Eto’o though apparently past his best proved to be a useful signing for the team in his singular season at Chelsea scoring 12 goals in 35 appearances.
Signed at a time when Chelsea only had one other senior striker to call upon in January 2013, Demba Ba’s time as Chelsea player is pretty difficult to evaluate owing to the fact that he indeed had limited opportunities and didn’t really set the world alight whenever he indeed had an opportunity. He left in 2014 with a record of 14 goals in 51 appearances. He will be best remembered for his goal against PSG which helped overcome a 3-1 first leg defeat in Paris.
Another on this list who perhaps isn’t the most loved of the strikers to have turned out for the club in recent years. Sturridge was signed as a young budding striker from Manchester City and was particularly admired by AVB who likened him to Hulk whom he had previously coached at Porto. Daniel scored 24 goals in 96 appearances for Chelsea and although he often drew the ire of many a Chelsea fan for his perceived selfish style, he could never be faulted for confidence or effort and has also gone on to prove himself at Liverpool. Perhaps he is the proverbial “one that got away”.
There are so many chronicles of El-Nino’s time at Chelsea that including him in this list almost seems like attempting to flog a dead horse but this list would not be complete without him. Signed in January 2011 to help the team overcome the “bad moment” that the club was experiencing while trying to defend our league title. Fernando would prove to be hugely disappointing as a striker but very much loved by the Chelsea faithful. His goals which were pretty much infrequent were always hugely cheered and there was always a ready excuse from the fans for his poor return in front of goal. In all Torres scored 45 goals for Chelsea in 172 appearances. However El-Nino will always be fondly remembered for his goal at the Nou Camp in 2012 enroute the UCL triumph in Munich as well as the opening goal in the Europa League final against Benfica.
Often maligned by the Chelsea faithful as one player who frustrates as much as he delights, Kalou is perhaps the one striker that one would be forgiven to have quickly forgotten. Signed as a center forward who was very prolific for Feyenoord in the Eredivise, Salomon though an important member of the squad during his time at the club perhaps failed to live up to his potential in a Chelsea shirt. His record of 60 goals in 254 appearances is not flattering but he scored some important goals in his time at the club.
Having earned a reputation earlier in his career for being a controversial and often petulant character, many fans were skeptical about Anelka when he was muted as a potential signing in January 2008. However Anelka proved to be quite an astute signing and even sacrificed his willingness to play more as a centre forward to play on the right wing. He was also a senior figure in the dressing room and was very much a great servant to the club. He also won the Premier League Golden Boot for the 2008/09 season. Anelka left Chelsea in January 2012 having score 59 goals in 184 appearances.
Indeed the greatest striker of the modern era to have ever pulled on the Chelsea shirt, Drogba signed by Jose Mourinho in July 2004 has mostly been the standard by which many a striker who has played for the club in recent years has been judged. Drogba is without doubt the best striker that Chelsea has had in modern times and his impact in the team cannot be over-emphasized. One for the big occasion, Drogba has always been one to stamp his authority over big games and no Chelsea fan can ever forget his heroics in the UCL triumph of 2012. A legend in every sense word, Drogba having left and returned is currently at Chelsea and has scored 163 goals in 365 appearances.